by Shawn P. Bailey

Sometimes I forget
that he counts sparrows and hairs.
That the enlargement of my forehead
follicle by follicle
did not escape the gaze of his all-seeing eye.
That his finger traced the bird-stain outline
(feather print, wings comically askew)
on my office window before it appeared.
I was picking up my daughter from dance.
Just waiting: car quiet and dark.
That’s when I saw something
coming at me from across the parking lot.
Not a rodent—my first thought—
but an oak leaf, brittle and brown.
Sometimes I tell myself that I am
a leaf blown across a parking lot.
That the universe is vast and
crammed full of matter that doesn’t matter.
Discarded, dead, unnamed, unknown.
That whatever I am, I am small.
That it doesn’t matter if I am petty or cruel.
Sometimes I forget
that he counts sparrows and hairs.
That he knows them and names them.
That the earth does not just shiver and ache endlessly.


SHAWN P. BAILEY is a trial attorney, painter, and poet. More at humblecountrylawyer.com (true stories from the trenches of our civil justice system) and spbailey.net (art and poetry).


Photo: “Sparrow” by Julie Falk